Ryan O’Reilly has quickly made an impression in Buffalo with his on-ice skills and off-ice demeanor. The players on the other side of the blockbuster trade are getting comfortable in Colorado.
Former Sabres first-round picks Nikita Zadorov and Mikhail Grigorenko are skating in their first camp with the Avalanche. Grigorenko opened in a highly coveted spot as the center for right wing Nathan MacKinnon and left wing Alex Tanguay. Zadorov skated with longtime NHL defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
“I’m really happy we finally started,” Grigorenko told the Avs’ Website. “I think I’ve got the skill level and all the tools. I just need to work and compete as hard as I can every time I step on the ice, and I should be fine.”
Zadorov gave a glowing review of his time in Buffalo.
"It was the best time of my life, a great two years,” he told the Denver Post. “It was the greatest organization, great people there, great teammates, and I always will be thankful to them for drafting me. They made a hockey player of me. I learned a lot there and had some bad lessons, too, but everything else was great.”
While praising the Avs’ combination of General Manager Joe Sakic and coach Patrick Roy, Zadorov may have taken a shot at Sabres GM Tim Murray.
“As soon as I heard 'Colorado Avalanche,' I was happy,” Zadorov told the Post. “It's always nice to play for a GM who's actually been here and knows what it’s like for the players when you're playing and working hard.”